Glasgow International: Bouncy Bouncy
Every carnival needs one, and GI’s own version of the bouncing castle is Jeremy Deller’s inflatable Stonehenge ’Sacrilege’. This pagan throwback made of glossy pvc products nods to the stone cirlces which dot the isles of Britain, and its most famous henge The Stonehenge north of Salisbury (by no means the only one…just the one that became a celebrity henge). Originally the site of pagan rituals, worship and harvest festivals, this newly minted henge is a lure to the village folk of the Glasgow Green and when we visited was already well utilised by the wee and larger types who enjoy bouncing and falling. Our cabbie, Iain (with two ‘i’s he tells us), also worries that the Green is a dodgy bit of the city…so we are thinking the henge might have some social engineering purpose too … Deller’s piece is in sympathy with the playground of Dialogue of Hands (previously mentioned)…so we have quickly discovered a sub-theme of public space and play here!
There are a number of get-togethers all weaved through the day, and one is to meet and chat with colleagues over informal nibbles. We’re happy to talk at length with our pal Claire Doherty of SITUATIONS and hear a little more about NOWEHERISLAND her project brainchild of artist Alex Hartley. The little arctic island is floating towards the Olympics as we speak and will moor nearby during the games. It’s looking for citizens so if you want to become one log onto www.nowehereisland.org and do so before it floats off to a watery finale. We forgot to mention, Stonehenge will also be doing a Olympic circuit.
The Melbourne contingent…
Are marshaling their energies and resources for the following week when their projects, events, screenings and actions will take place. We hear tell there is a massive underground movement of NOISE followers, so Marco Fusinato’s performance is sure to draw the crowds. Bianca is plotting her moves (between drizzle patches). Joshua’s posters are up in the underground, Laresa is polishing the bowling balls and David is focusing the projector!
The itinerary…vast and sprawling
We managed to knock off 18 venues so far…30ish to go…the GI, true to its roots, takes you to big and small, evident and secretive spaces and a lot of democratically programmed and umbrella-ed events and exhibitions. It’s a great way to get to know the city. We discover MELBOURNE coffee at South Block…a design hub with café at front…where we have a great chat with our colleague Fulya Erdemci
Director SKOR in Amsterdam, and incoming Director of the forthcoming Istanbul Biennial. Sounds exciting!
Top picks thus far include…
Nairy Baghramian’s SPANNER is a tightly-wound, waist-height horizontal cable/bar stretched between the perfunctory temporary walls of the otherwise ornate Mitchell Library. Where other artists have preferred to fill this grand space with floor -ased works (and here we are thinking of previous GI exhibitors such as David Noonan and Callum Stirling), Baghramian has shifted the focus back to the space itself highlighting its intrinsic qualities and testing its very limits with tension. To our way of thinking there is a tug of war here and while not overt, definitely a politic in this project.
THE IMMORTALS by Folkert de Jong at the Glasgow Art School…an interplay of the classical and disheveled sculptural forms utilizing the given immortals of the schools collection of classical cast figures and de Jong’s lumpen, rough personages and furnitures.
Rosalind Nashashibi’s Lovely Young People (Beautiful Supple Bodies) is the outcome of an extended period of visitation behind the scenes of rehersals of the Scottish Ballet. At a certain point in the development of the piece, she decided to bring small groups of locals into proximity of the dancers and the focus of this beautifully crafted film to video is as much about how we viewers orientate ourselves in unfamiliar spaces and in relation to performers in the act of looking as it documents the extraordinary feats and strenuousness of the ballet itself.
And those we have –previously mentioned.
The BBC crew in search of the answer to the question Why are there so many great artists from Glasgow…? Or the Glasgow Miracle as we’ve heard it called, pop up at openings and venues all over the place trying to suss it out…but we like Katrina Brown’s explanation…a lot of sheer bloody hard work! Aye to that!!